Baby Zap is in a bad mood. The last thing he wants is a bath. Mom Zap tries a hug to see if giving him a little extra snuggling will help him relax into the bath. But he scoots out of her arms to the other end of the tub and turns his back on her. Mom Zap changes her approach to a more playful one. She scoops up some soap bubbles and blows one to Baby Zap. This piques Baby Zap’s curiosity, and he happily turns bathtime into playtime, thanks to Mom’s change in tactics and her creativity in play.
Bathtime is one of the few times when babies can have their parent’s undivided attention. Usually it is a daily ritual where both baby and parent rekindle their emotional connection just before bed.
But sometimes babies are just not in the frame of mind for pleasant routines.
Babies have moods. Some babies change their moods frequently, while others seem to settle into a mood and stay there. Some babies’ moods swing from high to low, while others flow from mild to moderate in gentle waves.
Babies have stress, too. Maybe baby Zap’s day has put him emotionally over the top of his ability to cope. Or maybe his day has worn him out physically and he is too tired to enjoy anything else. When this happens, cooperation will be the last thing on his mind.
Some babies never really like baths. For these babies, even the most creative parent will be challenged to find a routine that meets cleanliness standards without having a full-fledged battle on most days.
Regardless of whether it is stress or moods, or just outright dislike of baths, most parents will at times have to work their way around a baby who doesn’t want a bath. Sometimes extra hugs and kisses will turn a cranky baby into a happy one. But sometimes, as with Baby Zap, this doesn’t work.
Play is one of the most powerful tools a parent has. And you don’t need a room full of toys. Mother Zap simply made soap bubbles into a plaything and bathtime became playtime. And, Baby Zap responded by dropping his grumpiness and joining in.
Try gentle play with your baby when he is feeling uncooperative and use it to connect with your baby during the precious one-on-one moments of bathtime.